Let me begin this by giving the backstory on how this topic came about in my head because you might be thinking to yourself, “I have never heard of this before and this sounds incredibly random.” Last week I was discussing a few things related to fitness with my dad. Somewhere in the conversation, my dad pointed out that I have to continue working out the way I do forever or all my lean muscle is going to turn into fat. I stopped him and explained in a logical fashion that what he was saying is simply blasphemy and an old wives tale. He did not believe me but just because he didn’t does not mean you should also be sitting on a misunderstanding of the truth. That is the backstory, and I am here to set the story straight for all gym-goers!
Muscle and Fat are Completely Different
Let us begin this by starting off with the substances we are discussing in the first place. First things first: muscle and fat are 100% different in their genetic, chemical, and overall tissue related items. Saying that muscle turns to fat if it is not used is basically like saying bricks can turn into straw. That sounds silly doesn’t it? This lie, among other lies, such as being able to target and burn fat (which is a totally different topic that we could talk about for a long time) have their claim to fame. We, as exercisers, no longer believe these lies!
What Really Happens to the Muscle then?
To make this simple, what actually happens to muscle when it “turns to fat” is a series of steps. First, the exerciser stops exercising for long enough that muscle atrophy (deterioration) occurs. Second, the exerciser, having much less lean muscle tissue and probably poor nutrition at this point in their life starts to build fat instead of muscle. Really, that’s it. The muscle deteriorates and the fat builds up in its place. Next time you hear anyone saying that muscle turns to fat, politely and calmly put that person in their place.
By: Tanner Porter